A more power efficient workstation, such as the Apple Macintosh “Mini” desktop computer, can run Windows software and use about 1/8th the power of our current Dell desktop computers, saving approximately $20 per system per year. VA IT estimates there are 350,000 desktop workstations in the VA. Using Mac Mini systems to replace the current desktop workstations would result in a $7 million savings per year in reduced electricity costs.
Lower power use would also reduce waste heat production. The smaller Mac Mini would allow easier and quicker installations by IRM, lower transportation and lower shipping costs.
Laptops or tablets can be similarly frugal in their use of power. An added advantage is that when one uses a laptop one can face the patient during an interaction, while the current VA workstations are set up on a desk that forces the user to face the wall and away from the patient. Although laptops and tablets are more expensive than conventional workstations the VA would need fewer out of them. The VA currently has 350,000 workstations for approximately 250,000 employees, because many of us work in multiple locations. If each employee was issued just one portable computer the VA could avoid the acquisition cost of approximately 100,000 workstations every two or three years (the current replacement and upgrade schedule), saving roughly an additional $23 million annually ($70 million over three years).
Some stationary employees would be better off with a Mac mini than with a laptop or tablet, and some power users need more robust workstations.